With more than 2.7million cattle being graded through the Meat Standards Australia program in 2016-17, an estimated $130million was delivered back to beef producers through additional farm gate returns.
According to new 2016-17 data released in the MSA Annual Outcomes Report, cattle presented for MSA grading represented 40 per cent of the national adult cattle slaughter, an increase of two per cent on the 2015-16 financial year, despite the decline in overall national cattle slaughter.
There were 5.7million sheep presented for MSA grading in 2016-17, representing 25 per cent of the national lamb slaughter, with 71 per cent of those lambs supplying lamb brands underpinned by MSA.
MSA program manager Sarah Strachan said beef producers had continued to embrace carcase feedback and the new benchmarking tools on offer, with one-third of producers consigning MSA cattle during the year accessing the myMSA feedback system.
‘‘Impressively across the country, MSA beef producers increased carcase compliance to MSA minimum requirements to 93.9 per cent and the average MSA Index improved to 57.59 (per cent),’’ Ms Strachan said.
‘‘Over-the-hooks cattle price indicators for MSA cattle remained higher on average than non-MSA cattle in both Queensland and NSW with the average differential for young cattle (excluding accredited grain-fed) across all weight ranges 23¢/kg.
‘‘Based on the average carcase weight of MSA-compliant cattle in 2016-17, MSA beef producers potentially received an additional $65 per head for these cattle and an additional $34 per head for accredited grain-fed cattle,’’ she said.
Ms Strachan said looking towards 2020, MSA had its sights set firmly on ensuring all cattle in Australia would be eligible for MSA grading and had their eating quality accurately described.
‘‘The goal is for more than 50 per cent of the national cattle slaughter and 43 per cent of the lamb slaughter being MSA graded.
‘‘These goals are driving the focus for investments in new eating quality research,’’ Ms Strachan said.
She said the success of the MSA program was complemented by the robust industry consultation and ongoing support provided by all Peak Industry Councils.
■The MSA Annual Outcomes Report 2016-17 can be downloaded at www.mla.com.au/msa